Martin Outlines DTV Efforts at Senate Hearing

During testimony on Capitol Hill, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin outlined recent agency efforts tied to the nation's transition to digital TV, including new mandates that address the roles for cable and satellite TV tied to the changes.

Martin testified before an oversight hearing on the digital TV transition held Tuesday by the Senate Commerce Committee. And in his prepared statements, Martin detailed the FCC's recent order requiring satellite TV services to carry all digital broadcast signals in the markets they serve with local digital broadcast services after the February 2009 DTV switch.

He said the commission's goal with the carriage order "is critical to ensuring that satellite customers, like cable customers, will continue to receive the same broadcast stations they saw the day before the transition on the day after the transition."

Martin also spoke about other transition-related mandates that impact cable and satellite TV.

In February, the commission adopted an order that requires commercial and non-commercial full power broadcasters to provide on-air information about the DTV transition. The item also requires pay-TV providers like cable and satellite TV to provide monthly inserts about the digital TV switch in customer billing statements.

Martin said while the months ahead will be challenging, the digital TV transition "will be a historic moment in the evolution of TV. Television viewers will be able to enjoy movie quality picture and sound and potentially new programming choices."